5 Things CIOs Need to Know About Capital-Efficient Innovation
Changing market dynamics are forcing companies to innovate to grow while reducing costs, so life sciences companies need to adopt a Capital-Efficient Innovation approach. Here are five areas where CIOs should focus their attention.
by Steve Andrade
1. Capital-Efficient Innovation is about agility
To drive innovation, you need to have the elasticity within your infrastructure to support existing and new business objectives. Agility means putting the right platform, processes and discipline in place to be able to quickly respond to market opportunities, regulatory challenges, changes in the supply chain, and so forth. Flexibility is enabled via an IT platform through which you can embrace and support new services, products and capabilities.
Having an agile and consistent IT platform allows companies to derive value from integrating systems used by different functions in the business. So, for example, a company’s regulatory information management (RIM) platform can be integrated with content management solutions and master data management activities. But to derive the greatest benefit, the IT platform needs to be easy to use, so you need to build the right platform to enable agility.
One way to achieve platform simplicity is through a trusted cloud service, which opens up the opportunity to build a more agile and interconnected architecture. Adopting cloud is beneficial at both economic and business-value levels, because it reduces the cost of infrastructure while accelerating time to market by making it easier to deliver services in a consistent and repeatable way.
In addition, as CIOs increasingly focus on what systems and processes they need to run the business, an agile IT platform, enabled through the cloud, creates an environment for low-cost prototyping of alternative solutions, allowing ongoing innovation without additional cost.
2. Capital-Efficient Innovation is about compliance and security
Progressive CIOs need to drive toward architectural simplicity to improve regulatory compliance. While companies understand that RIM is integral to managing the regulatory submission process, for RIM to provide the level of compliance and business value that the enterprise requires, regulatory rich information should be leveraged more extensively across the organization and supported by a more agile and integrated platform.
The broader benefit of an integrated approach to compliance is that it helps you bring products to market faster, and enables a smarter and lower-cost way of managing regulated activities. The challenge in most organizations is that data is dispersed across numerous legacy systems that run globally within a complicated and outdated IT architecture.
In addition, you need to ensure a clear, streamlined security strategy to protect the enterprise’s assets and minimize the risk — and cost — of security breaches. CIOs are tasked with helping achieve these goals without additional cost burdens to the business, and with the right infrastructure it’s now easier and less resource-intensive to make use of capabilities such as radio-frequency identification (RFID), data leakage protection, identity and access management, application security, network security, and single sign-on.
3. Capital-Efficient Innovation is about governance and portfolio management
As organizations have moved away from vertical integration to orchestrating a complex network of suppliers and partners, it has become even more important to have a clear governance and portfolio management structure in place. To manage those many relationships and activities effectively and efficiently, you need to be able to ensure that every relationship is governed in a structured and repeatable way.
Governance also encompasses portfolio management; an efficient governance structure allows you to look at the cost base around your portfolio of activities and determine the most efficient way to manage those activities.
The question becomes, are the tools and processes in place to activate and manage governance and the portfolio, in order to work more efficiently? Companies can’t govern without portfolio management, without effective supplier management, or without adopting architectural simplicity. This is relevant across all functions within the business: Without architectural simplicity, businesses can’t optimize the supply chain or enhance how they collaborate with R&D partners, or manage global regulatory information.
4. Capital-Efficient Innovation is about talent optimization
Today’s life sciences organizations face ongoing transformation, in particular as a result of mergers and acquisitions, divestments, and the increasing dependence on external partners. But to make best use of the global skills and knowledge these new or supplemental team members and partners bring, you need to become more comfortable leading and working with co-located and distributed teams across the globe and across organizations.
To make best use of talent, you need to put in place processes that enable you to identify and source the right skills, both inside and outside the business, not just at an operational level but also at a strategic level. At the same time, you need to seek out the right resources to help your company develop and train its own people in order to respond to rapidly changing market dynamics and trends.
5. Capital-Efficient Innovation is about collaboration
At all levels — R&D, clinical, infrastructure and supply chain — life sciences companies are collaborating with many different stakeholders, both internally beyond their functional walls and outside the organization with business partners. The need to innovate at an R&D level has led once-insular companies to work with academic institutions, start-ups, biotechs, technology companies and former competitors.
Collaboration means that you need to be able to share information and intellectual property securely, through flexible cloud-based or as-a-service platforms that can be scaled up during the collaborative process, allowing rules-based access, and scaled down when not required, without residual cost. It’s about having an agile platform that lets the enterprise work across multiple clouds and organizations, and securely access different applications, as well as the information within those applications. Mobility is also an important enabler of collaboration, because today’s workforce not only is geographically spread out, but increasingly needs access to information while working beyond the corporate walls.
Connecting the dots Capital-Efficient Innovation responds to the industry’s dual challenge of innovating to grow while reducing costs. And the industry is trying to achieve this while staying true to its purpose: bringing life-saving products to market faster for patients across the globe.
As CIOs increasingly take the lead in delivering the innovation needed to enable the objectives set out by the stakeholders, their priority must become to create a business model that best optimizes the value chain to meet the needs of the patient through Capital-Efficient Innovation.
STEVE ANDRADE is vice president and general manager of life sciences at CSC.